Bayside, Queens, New York: Gem With a View

On the Water, Close to Manhattan

Bayside
••• Bayside has a suburban feel but is close to Manhattan. (c) John Roleke

Bayside, in northeastern Queens, is a safe suburban neighborhood with city amenities and city taxes. Walk down Bell Boulevard, Bayside's crowded main thoroughfare, and it's hard to believe that just one block away are wide, green streets and single-family homes.

Bayside is a true Queens find, with its superior public schools, quick commute to Manhattan (30 minutes via the Long Island Rail Road), proximity to the Throgs Neck Bridge and highways, and many shops and restaurants.

More and more Chinese, Greek and Korean families are finding a home here, joining a thriving Italian community.

Bayside Boundaries

Bayside is bordered to the north and the east by Long Island Sound and Little Neck Bay -- but it is separated from the bay by the Cross Island Parkway. Across the bay, to the east, is upscale Douglas Manor, with its large waterfront homes. The eastern land border is the Cross Island Parkway and Douglaston; the western is Francis Lewis Boulevard/Utopia Parkway and Auburndale; the southern is Union Turnpike and Queens Village.

Bayside is a large section of Queens that includes the communities of Bayside Gables (privately owned gated community), Bayside Hills (development-style housing), Bay Terrace (larger apartment buildings), Bellcourt (mixed architecture in an area from Bell to Clearview, 35th Avenue to 39th Avenue), Lawrence Manor (40th Avenue to 221st Street, east of Bell), Oakland Gardens (home to Queensborough Community College), Tall Oaks and Weeks Woodlands (26th Avenue to 35th Avenue, east of Bell).

Bayside Transportation

Bayside is a 30-minute commute to Penn Station via the LIRR (Port Washington line, Bell Boulevard at 41st Street). There is no subway, but some commuters take the bus to the No. 7 at Flushing Main Street.  Two express buses run to Midtown Manhattan in about 50 minutes: the QM2 (Bell Boulevard and 23rd Avenue) and the QM2A (Corporal Kennedy Boulevard and 23rd Avenue).

For car-loving Baysiders, there's ready access to the Whitestone/VanWyck Expressway, Grand Central Parkway, Long Island Expressway, Clearview Expressway and Cross Island Parkway. It's also convenient to the Throgs Neck Bridge and only a few more minutes to the Whitestone Bridge. John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport are less than 15 miles away.

Bayside Restaurants, Delis, Bakeries and Bars

Bayside Milk Farm is an Italian market with a great deli. The retro-'50s Jackson Hole Diner is a treat for all ages. Upscale Erawan has delicious Thai food, and its parking lot is key for Bell. For pizza, it's Graziella's, and for meat-lovers, Uncle Jack's Steak House. On your way to the train, get your pastry and coffee at Marretta Bakery. For drinks, there are Irish bars like Monahan & Fitzgerald.

Bayside History and Landmarks

Originally inhabited by the Matinecock Indians, Bayside was settled by the English in the late 17th century, soon after Flushing was established. William Lawrence, the owner of a fleet of clipper ships used for the China trade, established the first settlement, naming it Bayside for its location on Little Neck Bay.

Fort Totten, built during the Civil War to protect New York Harbor, is now a public park.

The Bayside Historical Society has its exhibits on its grounds.

Bayside Main Streets and Shopping

Bell Boulevard, Northern Boulevard and Francis Lewis Boulevard are the big commercial streets. For shopping, Bell Boulevard is your best bet, offering everything from mom-and-pop shops, like Hazel's Shoes, to the major chains at Bay Terrace mall. Local real estate agent Betsy Pilling of Pilling Real Estate refers to the shopping district along Bell as a "small village," since many shops have been run by the same families for decades.

Bayside Green Spaces

Bayside has hundreds of acres of parks, with ballfields, golf courses, picnic areas and hiking paths. Check out some of these:

  • Little Neck Bay running path and park (footbridge access near 28th Avenue takes you to the Bayside marina)
  • Fort Totten (Cross Island Parkway to Totten Road to 15th Road)
  • Alley Pond Park (Little Neck Bay to Springfield Boulevard, Union Turnpike)
  • Alley Pond Environmental Center (Northern Boulevard just east of the Cross Island Parkway)
  • John Golden and Crocheron Parks (32nd Avenue to 35th Avenue, Little Neck Bay)
  • Cunningham Park (Horace Harding Expressway to Grand Central Parkway, around Francis Lewis Boulevard)

Bayside Trivia

Bayside can claim some A-list celebrity status. Former residents include Perry Farrell, Rosie O'Donnell, Rudolph Valentino, W.C. Fields, Jose Reyes, Buster Keaton and Paul Newman.

Denis Leary's hit series "Rescue Me" sometimes shot on location in Bayside's Bellcourt area. The main characters from the show "Entourage" are from Bayside -- Turtle wears a Bayside High jacket in the pilot episode.

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